Frankie Parsons is twelve going on old man, an apparently sensible, talented boy with a drumbeat of worrying questions steadily gaining volume in his head: Are the smoke alarm batteries flat? Does the cat, and therefore the rest of the family, have worms? Will bird flu strike and ruin life as we know it? Is the Kidney-shaped spot on his chest actually a galloping cancer? Only Ma takes seriously his catalogue of persistent queries. But it is Ma who is the cause of the most worrying question of all, the one that Frankie can never bring himself to ask. Then the new girl arrives at school and has questions of her own: relentless, unavoidable questions. So begins the unravelling of Frankie Parsons's carefully controlled world.
About the Author
Kate de Goldi lives in Wellington. She has won a number of accolades for her fiction, including the Katherine Mansfield Short Story Award and the Esther Glen Medal. Her book Clubs, illustrated by Jacqui Colley, won Book of the Year in the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards in 2005. In 2001, Kate was made a New Zealand Arts Foundation Laureate.
I originally picked this book up thinking it was a young adult readers book. And it probably is. But The 10pm Question defies all age categories.
The characters are so maddening and crazy, they instantly become best friends with the reader as they lead us into their magical world. frankie, in particular, is utterly adorable.
It is very dry, which will obviously turn some readers off, and full of detail, but that rounds the characters out and it follows a great plot.
The book also won a NZ Post Book Award and would be perfect for parents to read to their older kids, or from anyone else wanting to escape for a while (also, a challenge, can you answer all the 10pm questions?)
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